New species of PH Begonia plant officially named

Published November 8, 2020, 2:36 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz

A new species of the Philippine Begonia plant discovered in Surigao del Norte three years ago has been officially named Begonia makuruyot.

(Philippine Taxonomic Initiative / MANILA BULLETIN)

A new paper published on Nov. 5 in the international research journal Biotaxa described the species as distinctive and inhabiting shaded limestone walls on the Daywan/Baoy River in Surigao del Norte.

The discovery made in 2017 was formally published by Mark Gregory Q. Rule, Yu Pin Ang, Rosario R. Rubite, Rudolph Valentino A. Docot, Rene Alfred Anton Bustamante, and Alastair S. Robinson.

Its name Begonia makuruyot was derived from the Surigaonon adjective “makuruyot” or wrinkled, which refers to the distinctly rugose surface of the new species.

The article said the new species is distinguished from other Philippine Begonia by its “rugose laminae, pendent leaves, pilose petioles, and stipules fused with fleshy, aristate trichomes that are occasionally branching.”

Due to its restricted distribution and threats from various human activities, the experts said Begonia makuruyot appears to be critically endangered – the most threatened conservation status assigned by the International Union for Conservation of Nature or IUCN to a species that still exists in the wild.

The team who discovered the new species of Begonia was supported by the Philippine Taxonomic Initiative, an independent, non-profit, non-government organization focused on advancing the discovery and description of plants and animals in the Philippines.